The Usage of the Common Sense in the Public Philosophy of European Modernity


When the structure of the scholarly public sphere with the social embeddedness of philosophy and the philosophers experiences a transformation, the self-interpretation of the philosopher can be renewed with benefits for philosophical thinking in general. In these situations it is necessary to rethink both the relationship of philosophy and praxis, and philosophy as a kind of praxis. The re-interpretation of the essence of philosophical thinking and its relation to the praxis leads to re-thinking the relationship of thinking and acting in general, which is the core of the problem of human nature. The task of the re-interpretation of the role of philosophy is fulfilled by philosophers, based on the reflection of its own past. A special relationship between philosophy and history of philosophy appears here. It is what was emphasized by Hans-Georg Gadamer—who will be an important reference in the last part of my paper—in the following sentences:

It is part of the elementary experience of philosophy that when we try to understand the classics of philosophical thought, they of themselves make a claim to truth

* This article was written in the framework of the project entitled The tradition of “sensus communis” in Hungarian thought: Philosophy and the public realm; public philosophy, national philosophy, national characterology (NKFIH-number: K 135 638).

that the consciousness of later times can neither reject nor transcend. The naive selfesteem of the present moment may rebel against the idea that philosophical consciousness admits the possibility that one’s own philosophical insight may be inferior to that of Plato or Aristotle, Leibniz, Kant, or Hegel. One might think it a weakness that contemporary philosophy tries to interpret and assimilate its classical heritage with this acknowledgment of its own weakness. But it is undoubtedly a far greater weakness for philosophical thinking not to face such self-examination but to play at being Faust. It is clear that in understanding the texts of these great thinkers, a truth is known that could not be attained in any other way, even if this contradicts the yardstick of research and progress by which science measures itself. (Gadamer 2006: xxi, in the author’s Introduction)

In the following I analyze a historical case of the interpretation of the essence of the philosophical thinking, namely the modern tradition of the common sense, offering several new aspects. After its Aristotelian and Stoic roots, the concept of the common sense as a significant philosophical term emerged again in British thought, especially in the œuvre of Shaftesbury, and later in the Scottish school of the common sense in the period of the Scottish Enlightenment. This new common sense philosophy of early modernity was a special answer to the challenges of the modernity, as it has manifested itself in the transformation of the public sphere in general and especially the public sphere of philosophy, with serious consequences toward the ideas on human nature and the social role of philosophy. In the following, at first I overview the revival of the term sensus communis (the common sense) in the context of the turn of philosophical communication, then I show how this term was exterminated in the 19th century German and Hungarian philosophies. In the last part of my writing I outline how and why this term was reconstructed in the historical inquires in German philosophy by Hans-Georg Gadamer and in contemporary Hungarian research on the history of philosophy.[1]

Revival of sensus communis as an answer to the turn of the structure of philosophical communication

The structure of the scholarly public sphere of Central-European philosophical life fundamentally changed at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, following similar but earlier changes of British and French philosophies. This new structure of the scholarly public sphere was characterized by two features. The first one is the appearance of a new, relatively independent institutional network, based on the increased significance of the extended correspondence of scholars, independent publishing houses, scholarly periodicals, saloons, and academies. The second one is the increased significance of the usage of native vernaculars instead of Latin in philosophy. However, the change of languages had fundamental consequences in the self-understanding of the next generation, and in the history of philosophy, its importance was not acknowledged in the contemporary discourse at any time. However, the change of the dominant languages of the philosophical publications happened in different epochs in different national cultures, but always relatively quickly (e.g., within a generation in the Hungarian case). Participants of this change could interpret their positions within the framework of the functionally bilingual communication of early modernity, and they applied its term for the actual circumstances. The usage of native languages and Latin was linked with different audiences, divided between academic and laic, and home and foreign public spheres. This communicational turn inspired the philosophers to reformulate their opinions about the audience of philosophy and the social role of philosophy with ge neral epistemological and anthropological consequences. Several theories and concepts of the philosophy of modernity can be discussed as theoretical reflections or answers to this change of communication. The most well known are the different forms of the modern common sense philosophies: Kant’s distinction between philosophia in sensu scholastico and philosophia in sensu cosmopolitico, combined with private and public usage of the reason, and Herder’s concept of publicum. The following offers outlines of the first one: the common sense philosophies in the British, German, and Hungarian cultures.[2]

The analysis of the turn of scholarly communication emerged as a new interpretation of the role and value of the sensus communis, at first in British philosophy. The original meaning of this concept is an intrinsic faculty of every human individual that appears in their understanding, moral judgements, and sentiments, and in their taste in art. The community of this faculty appeared just as a uniform feature of individual minds in the initial form of this term. It is clear from the beginning that the classical term is used in Britain with an extended meaning, not purely in an epistemological context but also in moral and social contexts, as well. The British common sense includes the sociability of humans and the speciality that the individually inborn, equal common sense can only be developed in social interactions and common thinking. In Shaftesbury’s thought, human minds can realize the truth in the status of humor. It is an individual feature that only works in social interactions, which inevitably feature an emotional context, a clear opposite of the individual and emotionally neutral apateia of ancient Stoicism. The epistemological role of the two terms is similar: a status of minds in which they can realize the truth. However, the antique one is highly individualistic and purely rational, and the modern one is embedded in social interaction and connected with emotions. In his reflection on the history of philosophy, he refers to the neologism of Marcus Aurelius, koinonoēmosynē. However, although he is familiar with the details of the meanings of all of the Greek and Latin terms of Stoicism connected to the sensus communis, he chose this non-trivial expression, because of its moral content and its embeddedness into social connection. In his philological notes he emphasizes the connection of the emotional and epistemological elements of these terms in the history of philosophy, as well, in the following form:

It may be objected possibly by some particularly versed in the philosophy abovementioned, that the koinos nous, to which the koinonoēmosynē seems to have relation, is of a different meaning. But they will consider withal how small the distinction was in that philosophy, between the hypolēpsis, and the vulgar aisthēsis; how generally passion was by those philosophers brought under the head of opinion. (Shaftesbury 1737: 105; the orthography has been modernized and the Greek terms has been transliter ated into Latin letters.)

His additional references to classical poetry further emphasize these moral, emotional, and social contexts. Shaftesbury’s Scottish followers use more conventional classical references (e.g., Thomas Reid refers to Cicero’s De oratore III. 1),[3] but the emphasis on the common societal environment remains. Parallel to the moral philosophy of Adam Smith, our moral sentiments, which can be regarded as a special form of the common sense, are intrinsic, individual features on the one hand, but achieving a level of humanity in which we can realize and recognize the common roots of our moral judgements depends on the global commercial, economical, and, at the same time, moral and political interactions of humankind (see Smith 1976). Similar chains of ideas have followed the frequent usage of the terms of politeness, refinement, and taste, sometimes at the core of epistemology, but more often in the political, aesthetical, and moral discourses, amongst the authors of the Scottish Enlightenment. It is not by an accidental event of the history of philosophy that this theoretical reflection emerged strongly in Scotland; it can be interpreted as an answer to a change in the structure of the communication, under conditions of the rise of modernity and their consequences for the intellectual sphere, especially for philosophical life. The semi-peripheral position of Scotland has offered a good point of view for detecting structural changes; several processes were realized easier from an Edinburgh perspective than they were from a London perspective.

This Scottish semi-peripheral regard and the theories rooted in it offered elements of the interpretation of a similar communicational change of the philosophical public sphere on the European continent. At first the case of German philosophy in the middle of the 18th century must be mentioned. German Popularphilosophie focuses on the requirements of the audience of the new public philosophy, outside the walls of the universities and other academic institutions. Populus as an audience is not identical to plebs, but is a conscious community of responsible citizens, whose main characteristic is their urbanitas. The emphasis on the interaction of individuals in making—especially aesthetical—judgements and the development of this new collectiveness is the main achievement of this school (Ernesti 1762: 153).

The difference between the cultural functions of the common sense in public intellectual life and of sensus communis in professional philosophy appears more clearly in the Hungarian philosophical tradition. The first Hungarian common sense philosopher, József Rozgonyi, formulated his philosophy in the framework of his critique of Kant; the Hungarian Controversy on Kant (1792–1822) coincided with his active career. The structure of his Kant critique was determined by the accidental fact that he wrote his first work against the German Kantian philosophers before he could read Kant’s Critique of Judgement, and the aesthetical questions remained in the shadow of epistemology and moral philosophy during the whole of the Kantian Controversy.[4] The language of Rozgonyi’s works leads us to the core of the functional multilingualism of his epoch; in Hungarian he criticized the German works of Kant and his early followers based on his favorite Scottish authors, formulated in his main books in Latin, and in several short essays, during the last period of his career. The Kantian terminology in Latin, created by him from a critical position, represents a serious philological problem in the history of Hungarian philosophy. (It is earlier than and not identical to the Latin terminology of the Kantianism developed by German Kantian thinkers in the late 1790s.)

Rozgonyi clarifies the fundaments of his thought in his first philosophical work, using a definition from a writing of James Beattie as a motto, quoted in English in his Latin book:

All sound reasoning must ultimately rest on the principles of common sense, that is on principle intuitively certain or intuitively probable; and consequently that common sense is the ultimate judge of truth, to which reason must continually act in subordination. (Rozgonyi 2017: 25)[5]

Later, he contextualizes the modern common sense tradition in the Kantian controversies of his epoch in the following way:

The Kantians seemingly neglect the proposition of the Scottish philosophers, Oswald, Reid and Beattie on the common sense, and recognise the well concluding reason as an exclusive judge. < Kantiani enim omnem Scotiae philosophorum Oswaldi, Reidii, Beatties de sensu communi sententiam flocci facere tribunalque controversiae huius definiendae unicum rationis legitime concludentis agnoscere videntur. > (Rozgonyi 2017: 38)

Later, he shows the difference between the Scottish and continental European concepts of the common sense in the context of the classical references to this term, describing the embeddedness of the thinking in the actions of human:

If the Kantians meant common sense the same what the abovementioned

Scottish philosophers do, e.g. Aristotle’s koinai doxai, Cicero’s naturae iudicia, i.e. the immediately evident propositions, which are the fundaments of every demonstration, […] by other words, principles, what can be neglected by words, but must be followed by the whole of life and by the constant rationality of the acting, and involuntary recognised; in this case I do not know who could neglect the common sense. […] The Kantians mean common sense the perception of the crowd, which perhaps can be unreasonable. But the abovementioned excellent Scottish philosophers have never recognised the common sense in this meaning. In their discourse, the perception belongs both to the philosophers and to the crowd. See Beattie’s essay on truth, part I, chapter 1. < Si quod Kantiani per sensum communem id, quod Scoti illi philosophi intelligant, v. g. Aristotelis koinai doxai, Ciceronis naturae iudicia seu propositiones immediate evidentes, quae fundamentum praebent omni demonstrationi, […] principia, quae si quis ore neget, toto vitae tenore et agendi rationi constanti vel invitus affirmare cogitur, nescio, qui possint cum reiicere? […] Kantiani per sensum communem sensum vulgi quandoque absurdum intelligunt. Sed tali significatu eximii illi Scoti sensum communem nunquam acceperunt. Sensus ille, de quo hi disputant, acque philosophorum ac vulgi est. Vide Beattie’s essay on truth, p. I. ch. 1. > (Rozgonyi 2017: 39. The motto of Rozgonyi’s work is the concluding sentence of Beattie’s Essay on truth, referred here by him. Aristotle’s Greek term has been transliterated into Latin letters.)

In the 19th century theoretical reflections on the cultural nation-building programs of East-Central Europe, the abovementioned concepts of Scottish Enlightenment and German Popularphilosophie were useful tools and played an important role. For example, “the development of the politeness and refinement of the nation” became a political slogan, and to create a modern civic consciousness based on the common sense and supported theoretically by the public philosophy was a dominant idea, at least in Hungary. The next generation of the Hungarian common sense philosophers after Rozgonyi, representatives of the so-called Hungarian harmonistic philosophy, János Hetényi and Gusztáv Szontagh, had a different type of reflection on the historicity of their philosophy (for a more detailed analysis see Mester 2018c).[6] They paid less attention to the origin and historical narrative of the common sense philosophy and to their own position in this narrative; they preferred to use their common sense philosophy in their works on the history of philosophy and the philosophy of history. Gusztáv Szontagh offers an international context of Hungarian philosophy, embedded in the social context in the historical chapters of his first main work (Szontagh 1839), and he offers a narrative of the development of civilization based on the refinement of the common sense, in the historical appendix of his main work of political philosophy (Szontagh 1843). Hetényi’s narrative of Hungarian philosophy is a history of the social development of the common sense in Hungary; it is civic philosophy in his terminology (Hetényi 1839). His history of Hungarian urban culture is the counterpart of his history of philosophy; its role is to show the social background of philosophy in history (Hetényi 1841).

The defeat of the common sense in the German and Hungarian philosophies

The next generations of German philosophy definitely differentiated themselves from the common sense tradition. We find examples of an opposition to the common sense of the crowd (gesunde Bauerverschtand) and the individual genius in the pre-Kantian period, as well as in Hamann’s Clouds (Hamann 1761/1950). A similar distinction would later be definite and systematic in the philosophy of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (for a more detailed analysis of the Hegelian attack against the common sense see Mester 2018d and Mester 2020). Hegel in his first serious philosophical writing identified the theoretical thinking with speculation, as a counterpart of the common sense, in the chapter titled “Relation of Speculation to Common Sense”:

For this reason, speculation understands sound intellect (gesunde Menschen verstand) well enough, but the sound intellect (gesunde Menschenverstand) cannot understand what speculation is doing. […] Common sense (gesunde Menschen verstand) cannot understand speculation; and what is more, it must come to hate speculation when it has experience of it; and, unless it is in the state of perfect indifference that security confers, it is bound to detest and persecute it. (Hegel 1802/1977: 99-100)

Not only the hierarchy of the speculation and the common sense, but also the motive of the conservatism of the common sense was contained in Hegel’s writing. Later, in the preface of his early masterpiece, he discusses the concept of insight as a result of theoretical thinking and the concept of edification connected with the emotional approach as opposites in the description of the actual state of the “self-conscious Spirit”:

[A]t the stage which self-conscious Spirit has presently reached […] now demands from philosophy, not so much knowledge of what it is, as the recovery through its agency of that lost sense of solid and substantial being. Philosophy is to meet this need, not by opening up the fast-locked nature of substance, and raising this to self-consciousness, not by bringing consciousness out of its chaos back to an order based on thought, nor to the simplicity of the Notion, but rather by running together what thought has put asunder, by suppressing the differentiations of the Notion and restoring the feeling of essential being: in short, by providing edification rather than insight. The ‘beautiful’, the ‘holy’, the ‘eternal’, ‘religion’, and ‘love’ are the bait required to arouse the desire to bite; not the Notion, but ecstasy, not the cold march of necessity in the thing itself, but the ferment of enthusiasm, these are supposed to be what sustains and continually extends the wealth of substance. (Hegel 1807/1977: 4-5)

The endeavor for the edification is incarnated by his opinion partly in the theory of Romanticism of his age, partly in the German Popularphilosophie, and partly in the enthusiasm of the religious pietistic movement. Hegel discussed the role and the character of the common sense in detail, especially in the subchapter titled “Reason as Lawgiver,” where he describes that the common sense leads us to a contradiction of terms during the formulation of moral law. The relationship of the common sense and theoretical thinking is the same in this special case as was described earlier in general. Hegel later, in the introduction of his lectures on the history of philosophy, in the subchapter titled “Philosophy Proper Distinguished from Popular Philosophy,” extended the concept of Popularphilosophie from a concrete German philosophical group to a universal phenomenon of history from Cicero through Pascal to the religious mystical thinkers. The only common element of these highly different authors is a kind of the common sense, connected with the moral sense, by Hegel’s opinion:

But the drawback that attaches to this Philosophy is that the ultimate appeal even in modern times is made to the fact that men are constituted such as they are by nature, and with this Cicero is very free. Here the moral instinct comes into question, only under the name of feeling […]. Feeling is first of all laid hold of, then comes reasoning from what is given, but in these we can appeal to what is immediate only. Independent thought is certainly here advanced; the content too, is taken from, the self; but we must just as necessarily exclude this mode of thinking from Philosophy.

(Hegel 1892: 93)

The first generation of Hegel’s Hungarian disciples in the 1810s and 1820s, and the Hegelian participants of the so-called Hegelian Trial (1838–1842), did not have such a big influence on Hungarian philosophical life that they could break the common sense tradition. It happened as late as the “resumption of the Hegelian Trial (1856– 1858).” Hegel’s most important Hungarian follower, János Erdélyi, applied Hegel’s argumentation in this controversy, which played a crucial role in the further history of Hungarian philosophy. There is a special significance of the supposed rurality of the common sense in the argumentation of Erdélyi. At first, he summarizes that all obstacles of professional philosophy based on the common sense: “all these superstitions are cultivated and taught by the name of the common sense” (Erdélyi 1981: 55). After the numerous pejorative references to the common sense, he had to formulate his own common sense concept. In this formulation at first he identifies the common sense with the conservatism of the everyday thinking, both in public life and philosophy:

The common sense wants always the perfected, cannot be renovated. The spirit, contrary, always follows its way, makes progress the world. […] Because the common sense wants always the perfected, consequently, it insists on the perfect truths, which were established a philosophical or political school long time ago for the eternity.

(Erdélyi 1981: 57)

It is interesting that Erdélyi’s examples of the innovation against the conservatism of the common sense come from the fields of the sciences and economy, and linguistic reform as well. (The lack of the social and political reforms is probably the consequence of the calculation with the possibilities of the publication, under conditions of the censorship in the age of neo-absolutism in the Hapsburg Empire.) The counter-concepts of the conservative common sense and the progressive spirit, formulated above, have been fulfilled by concrete content in here. Erdélyi formulated a non-communicative concept of the common sense:

The common sense can easily compatible with superstition, ignorance, stagnancy, all the moral and material wrong […] Contrary, on every great thing, which were for the progress of the humankind, there are deep, serious, secure and sublime marks of the thought. (Erdélyi 1981: 43)

There is no social communication, just standard biases against progressive initiatives. Their main types are ignorance and malignancy toward modern technology, such as the railway network, and toward the institutions of the established Enlightenment, mainly the system of public education. In his last example in his work referred to here, a rural housewife was against the literacy of her daughter because she could use it for writing a letter to her lover; this idea against women’s education is based on a common sense judgement, in Erdélyi’s interpretation. Erdélyi eliminated the urbanity of this program and disregarded his opponents’ ideas of the urbanity of the common sense for creating from it a non-communicative concept. The essence of his critique is the opposition of the conservative, rural common sense and the spirit of the progressive urbane civilization.

Erdélyi’s attack did not inspire a long discussion or debate because of biographical reasons. One of his main possible opponents, János Hetényi, died in 1853, before the publication of Erdélyi’s Present of the Inland Philosophy in 1856. Another serious opponent, Gusztáv Szontagh, formulated a characteristic counter-argument about the embeddedness of human thinking in the praxis, based on his common sense philosophy, with an emphasis on the close connection of philosophical thinking and human thinking in general:

[A] philosopher does not think purely for the sake of thinking; on the contrary: a human is thinking and investigates the truth for the right acting. (Szontagh 1857: 217)

It is a clear declaration of a theory of human thinking and acting, which is radically different from Erdélyi’s Hegelian ideas. It could have been the basis for a fruitful discussion between Hegelians and common sense philosophers, but Szontagh died in 1858, before the publication of Erdélyi’s reaction. Erdélyi withdrew the manuscript of his new discussion paper after reading Szontagh’s obituary, and the discussion ceased before it really started.

The target of the above-discussed common sense tradition was the re-positioning of philosophy within a new public sphere. In the Hungarian case, the program was to put philosophy cultivated in Hungarian into the new system of the so-called national sciences, and a theoretical interpretation and conscious design of this process. In other words, national philosophy, as a special version of the modern public philosophies in 19th century East-Central Europe, adapted to the system of the new modern national culture, and it wanted to simultaneously fulfil the role of both the philosophical interpreter of this new type of political community called nation and the designer of this community. By this system of ideas, from the cultural, political, economic, scientific, and artistic development of a country, a theoretical reflection appeared in the open sphere and based on the common sense, it could create a national community and a national culture, connected with the development of the actual level of the concrete appearances of the common sense as well. Erdélyi’s target was the concept of national philosophy, but he hit the philosophical concept of nation as a modern political community, and for ages made difficult the theoretical analysis of the political community, despite the fact that it was a long and well-established tradition. Hegel and his Hungarian follower were referred to as the representatives of a professional and scientific approach to philosophy in juxtaposition to the ideal inherent in the public philosophy. Within the fight for the professional and against the public philosophy, the concept of common sense was lost. It is not yet clear what the social function and anthropology of professional philosophy are, nor what defines itself against the common sense. We should consider that Erdélyi himself attacked the consequences of a public philosophy based on the social status of a public philosopher, more embedded in the communicational network of the modern press than in the academic system.

Revival of the common sense tradition in the German and Hungarian philosophies

After the extermination of the term sensus communis in the 19th century German and Hungarian philosophical traditions, a change in the self-understanding of philosophy was needed for its revival. A significant part of this process is Hans-Georg Gadamer’s œuvre. In the first chapter of his Truth and Method, second amongst his “guiding concepts of humanism,” after culture (Bildung), is sensus communis. Gadamer’s aim was not purely the methodological renewal of the human sciences, but a new beginning, a new self-understanding of German philosophy, with a reconstruction of its pre-Kantian status. By Gadamer’s description, the political aspect evaporated from the German version of the common European humanist tradition, but it remained in British and French thought. This imperfection of German thought appears in the beginning of his foreword to the second edition, in general form:

In Germany (which has always been pre-revolutionary) the tradition of aesthetic humanism remained vitally influential in the development of the modern conception of science. In other countries more political consciousness may have entered into what is called the »humanities«, »lettres«: in short, everything formerly known as the humaniora. (Gadamer 2006: xxvi)

Later he formulates the same opinion more concretely, focused on the German traditional interpretation of the common sense:

Whereas even today in England and the Romance countries the concept of the sensus communis is not just a critical slogan but a general civic quality, in Germany the followers of Shaftesbury and Hutcheson did not, even in the eighteenth century, take over the political and social element contained in sensus communis. The metaphysics of the schools and the popular philosophy of the eighteenth century – however much they studied and imitated the leading countries of the Enlightenment, England and France – could not assimilate an idea for which the social and political conditions were utterly lacking. The concept of sensus communis was taken over, but in being emptied of all political content it lost its genuine critical significance. (Gadamer 2006: 24)

Gadamer states that the common sense became at first an empty concept and then it evaporated in Germany and was restricted to the judgements of aesthetics and taste; in Kantian and post-Kantian thought it lost all its significance. (We have seen above in the case of the Kant-critique of Rozgonyi that the modification of the meaning of the common sense in Kantian philosophy, in comparison with the Scottish school, was realized by the common sense philosophers of Kant’s epoch, as well.) The sole exception is the pietistic tradition, where its critical potential has survived. Gadamer uses here the results of his own research on the history of philosophy; he wrote an introductory essay to the modern edition of a work of Friedrich Christoph Oetinger, who is his most often quoted pietistic author.[7] In the mirror of the recent research and the experiences of the role of the common sense tradition in the early period of East Central European national building, Gadamer seems to underestimate the political content of the common sense philosophy in Europe. It is surprising that he do not discuss Hegel’s crucial opinions about the common sense. It is more peculiar if we consider that in the previous chapter he analyzes Hegel’s concept of Bildung, with the end of the achievement of the Absolute. As it was shown earlier, Hegel’s attack against the common sense was based on the image of the common sense as a barrier to thinking in the achievement of the absolute, and one of the main opponents in this question was the pietistic movement. We must see that Gadamer’s masterpiece is not a handbook of the history of German philosophy, but a philosophical work of the self-reinterpretation of philosophy, based on the re-understanding of the history of philosophy. From our point of view, the most important element of his endeavor is that he tries to correct the historical de-politicization of German philosophy and redirect philosophy into the context of the social discourse, based on the re-thinking of the history of philosophy.

By the first glance, the revival of the Hungarian common sense tradition was merely the result of the internal interests of Hungarian philosophical historiography. In the recent research on the history of Hungarian philosophy, an intention was the simple correction of the conventional progressivist narrative of our handbooks of the history of philosophy. We were just curious about the figures that remained in the shadow of the progressivist vanguard groups; they were mainly the leaders of the anti-Kantian side of the Hungarian Controversy on Kant (1792–1822) and the anti-Hegelian key figures of the Hegelian Trial (1838–1842), and of its resumption after the revolution (1856– 1858). It was detected that they form different generations of the same common sense tradition, which was exterminated in Hungary in the middle of the 19th century. Their estimation, besides the texts and data discovered and interpreted by the historiographers of philosophy, depends on our opinions about the social role of philosophy and its place in public discourse. We met familiar topics at every corner, such as the problem of the functional bilingualism of philosophers who write their works in two languages for different (international and national) target audiences; different places and roles of the same philosopher in national culture and in the international discourse; and the opposition of professional philosophy and the role of philosophy in the development of the common sense in the form of public philosophy. At the end of the recent period of our investigations, we felt that de te fabula narratur. However we are professional historiographers of philosophy. We cannot offer such a sterile, antiquarian approach to the past of philosophy, which was free from the re-thinking of our selfunderstanding, as philosophers, citizens, and humans.


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